Kia Sportage: Fourth report

21 Nov, 2011 3:00pm Pete Gibson

A recent scrape has shown just how popular the Kia is proving – as parts shortages mean we faced a month-long wait for a repair

For: 
Heated seats shouldn’t just be for people travelling up front. On cold mornings, leather upholstery can be uncomfortably chilly, but the Kia has heated seats front and rear. So unless you are sitting in the middle rear seat – which does without it – you should be able to warm yourself up.
Against: 
It's a testament to the quality of the Kia that there’s nothing serious to complain about. The sat-nav played up after I put the car in reverse – it must be related to the rear view camera, but it’s only happened once. And I ripped the stitching for the leather seats, but this isn’t the car’s fault.

Is it possible for a car to become too popular? From a maker’s perspective, I guess the answer is no, as a healthy order bank is just what they want.

But what about motorists? I’m only asking the question as I’ve found an unexpected problem caused by the huge popularity of the Kia Sportage.

It came to light after a recent collision with an uninsured Renault Clio. Thankfully I was not hurt, or at fault come to that, but the passenger side of the Kia didn’t emerge unscathed. The front wing and door both bear battle scars, as does one of the newly replaced alloy wheels.

Having gone through all the formalities associated with such an accident, I left the car with the repairer and waited for a call to say it was ready for collection.

A week later I was informed that the car’s door and wing were on back order, so the work hadn’t even been started. They will take up to four weeks to arrive, so I’m currently driving a less-than-perfect Kia while I wait for the parts to turn up.

Admittedly, it’s hardly the end of the world, as the car is still perfectly driveable, but it just goes to show that long showroom waiting lists aren’t the only side effect when a model really captures the imagination of the car buying public. In fairness, I know exactly why the Sportage has been such a hit.

I’ve been really impressed with its comfort and long-legged cruising ability over the last 11 months. Mind you, I had a brief stint behind the wheel of another car recently that eclipsed my front-wheel-drive 1.7 CRDi model. It was the Sportage 2.0-litre CRDi which beat the revised VW Tiguan in a twin test, and I instantly preferred its more powerful engine and precise driving dynamics.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been really impressed with our car, but the larger 2.0-litre diesel engine makes the Sportage an even more relaxing motorway cruiser and its extra shove is handy for overtaking. I also fear the 4x4 drivetrain could come into its own over the months and weeks ahead.

November has been unusually mild so far, but if we get another bout of heavy snow, my two-wheel-drive model will be no more capable than a traditional family hatchback. I suppose that’s one of the drawbacks of crossover models; they look like proper off-roaders, but unless you choose a four-wheel-drive variant you don’t get the traction to match.

Of course, opting for a 4x4 will have an impact on price. The step up from our 1.7-litre version to an equivalent 2.0 CRDi will cost buyers £2,430 at the outset, and fuel economy drops by more than 10mpg. So unless you really need the security of 4WD, it’s easy to see the appeal of our 2WD model.

On the subject of wheels, I was interested to see if any readers had experienced the same problem with corroding alloy wheels as we did. In my last report, I explained how we had all four of ours replaced under warranty, and I expected to hear from other owners who’d suffered a similar experience. But judging by the response to our story, I’ve just been unlucky. And not for the first time, either...

Extra Info

“The Kia is a great-looking crossover and it represents fine value, too. I just wish it was as fun to drive as a Skoda Yeti or Ford Kuga. If Kia could improve the dynamic appeal of its cars, it really would be unstoppable.”
Ross Pinnock, Road test editor

Disqus - noscript

'November has been unusually mild so far, but if we get another bout of heavy snow, my two-wheel-drive model will be no more capable than a traditional family hatchback'........ I have a 2WD Skoda Yeti which was useless in the snow last winter, until I bought some winter tyres. Totally transformed the car in snow and icy conditions, plus you have the added ground clearance over a hatchback.

Nice car in/out and solidly built. If only tthat back window was larger because it really hinders backsight.
I would definately go only for the 2.0 litre diesel, 4x4 version. This is what the car was meant to be.

Great car, really, really, pleased with it - we have the 2.0 litre diesel 4x4 First Edition.
Had it a year now and no complaints except....
Pete's test car isn't the only one with corroding alloys. All four of ours have started to go and the dealer, Kia Bolton (the largest Kia dealer in Europe, as their recorded phone message always reminds me) took photos of them in the summer and I've been waiting for some action ever since.
I have phoned back three times and thee times been assured the details have been sent to Kia HQ and that they are sure it won't be a problem but I'm still waiting.
I'm not a car reviewer unfortunately, they seem to get the sort of service I so far haven't....

I have top of the range Kia Sportage and have been really pleased with it after 5 months motoring. It is truly a great looking and great to drive car... But! Today I noticed my alloys were starting to pit.
I went back to the main dealer who took photos of the alloys,and said it was because of the bad roads. I explained I bought the top model Sportage because I loved the wheels ,apart from other specs, and that It was disappointing . They said they would contact me with an answer soon.

With reference to my alloy wheels on my Sportage..
Kia have told me they will replace all 4 wheels under warranty,
So good news all round! Nice to find a car manufacturer,that does what they preach

I've had my first edition 2 liter diesel AWD sportage since new in 2010. I've just had all 4 alloys changed under warranty at Cosham Kia. No problems with the warrenty, just had to wait 10 days for them to be delivered. Other than the pitted alloys (shock is not an issue now) the car still runs like a dream.

Key specs

  • On fleet since: January 2011
  • Price when new: £23,190
  • Running costs: 39.6mpg
  • Mileage: 28,321
  • Engine / Power: 1.7-litre 4cyl/114bhp
  • Trade-in value now: £16,090
  • Insurance Group / Quote: 12/£409
  • Costs: First service (£209)
  • Any problems?: Pitted alloys replaced under warranty. Crash damage awaiting repair.
  • Equipment: None fitted
AEX 1334
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